SHE’S THE MAN
*** (out of 5)
March 17, 2006
Amanda Bynes as VIOLA
Channing Tatum as DUKE
Laura Ramsey as OLIVIA
Vinnie Jones as COACH DINKLAGE
David Cross as PRINCIPAL GOLD
Julie Hagerty as DAPHNE
Robert Hoffman as JUSTIN
Alex Breckenridge as MONIQUE
Directed by: Andy Fickman
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
“She’s the Man” starts as every movie should – with a bunch of high school girls running around the beach in bikini tops. Watching the opening credit sequence, I couldn’t help thinking, “God, I love this movie!”
Does that make me a pig? Sure it does, but I’m just reacting to the marketing Hollywood knows that it is doing. Unfortunately, the entire film wasn’t about high school girls running around in bikinis, but it was still pretty cute. (And, there was a great squad of cheerleaders in the final climax game of the film to keep my interest.)
“She’s the Man” is a remake of “Just One of the Guys,” which was a 1980s update on “Twelfth Night.” Like “10 Things I Hate About You,” the filmmakers take one of the immortal bard’s light-hearted comedies and updated it for today’s teenagers.
Amanda Bynes plays Viola, a girl who just loves playing soccer. The only problem is that her school has just cut the girls soccer team. To prove her worth as a player and to get back at her ex-boyfriend, she poses as her brother at an exclusive academy in order to join their soccer team. Of course, while posing as a guy, she falls for her male roommate who has the hots for her friend that has the hots for her. You get the picture.
The great thing about Shakespeare is that the story is inherently pretty good. Sure, they tend to be cliches, but the classic story is what made them cliches in the first place. With a core storyline that works, it’s relatively easy to construct the contemporary elements around it.
Amanda Bynes has a great sense of comedy, and it comes through in this film. She’s had her moments in the sun but hasn’t yet broken out like her Disney counterparts Lindsay Lohan and Hilary Duff. However, she is more than just a fad, and at least you’re not hearing her deathly pop tunes on the radio at every turn of the dial.
As a guy, Bynes got pretty irritating early on in the film. She suffered a bit from being allowed to do anything and declaring it funny, something that really only works for people like Robin Williams and Jim Carrey. However, when she’s given limits in the film, she shines.
The supporting cast has its moments as well. Vinnie Jones makes a great play as the girls soccer coach, and Julie Hagerty (remember her from the original “Airplane!,” folks?) is hilarious as Viola’s mother. Of course, the stand-out comedy comes from David Cross as the square headmaster of the school.
For the type of movie this is and the audience it is seeking, “She’s the Man” works. Overall, the writing’s pretty decent – about what you’d expect from a teen romantic comedy, but nothing special. After all, it ain’t Shakespeare.
Oh wait… I guess it is.